Federal Agency Alerts iPhone Users to Update Now

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency this week urged iPhone users to update their devices as soon as possible.
Federal Agency Alerts iPhone Users to Update Now
A woman uses her iPhone in a file photo. (Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)
Jack Phillips
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency this week urged iPhone users to update their devices as soon as possible due to a security flaw.

In a statement, CISA, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, said that various iPhone, Macbook, iPad, and other Apple users should initiate the updates to address vulnerabilities.

“A cyber threat actor could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system. Users and administrators are encouraged to review the following advisories and apply necessary updates,” the CISA bulletin said.

Apple released iOS 17.5 along with a warning of its own to update iPhones and other devices, noting that 15 security vulnerabilities have been patched in the latest update.

The company did not go into detail about the nature of the fixes, as usual. “For our customers’ protection, Apple doesn’t disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available,” said Apple on its website.

The updates target Safari 17.5, iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5, iOS 16.7.8 and iPadOS 16.7.8, macOS Sonoma 14.5, macOS Ventura 13.6.7, macOS Monterey 12.7.5, watchOS 10.5, and tvOS 17.5, according to Apple.

According to Apple’s support page, the update fixed at least two problems with the iOS 17.5 kernel that drives the iPhone operating system, which could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.

It also issued iOS 16.7.8 to fix two issues, including one that is being exploited currently by attackers, said the firm. One of the flaws, in the RTKIt, could allow an attacker to target the kernel. “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been exploited,” it said.

Meanwhile, at the same time the updates were provided, Apple issued a news release saying that the iOS. 17.5 update contains a feature that can stop “unwanted tracking alerts” across platforms.

“Apple and Google have worked together to create an industry specification—Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers—for Bluetooth tracking devices that makes it possible to alert users across both iOS and Android if such a device is unknowingly being used to track them,” the release said. “This will help mitigate the misuse of devices designed to help keep track of belongings.”

How to Update

While most iPhone and Mac users have automatic updates initiated already, some may have to manually download and apply the update.

To do so, access the iPhone’s or iPad’s Settings area before going to General, Software Update, then downloading and installing iOS 17.5 or iOS 16.7.8.

For MacOS users, choose the Apple menu before going to System Settings, clicking General in the sidebar, and then clicking Software Update on the right.  The updated software may also be downloaded from the App Store, which users can access by clicking the Apple menu, which will show the available updates.

iPhone Sales Drop

Earlier this month, Apple disclosed its steepest quarterly decline in iPhone sales since the pandemic’s outset, or 10 percent in year-over-year iPhone sales for the January-to-March period.

It also marked the biggest drop in iPhone sales since the July-September period in 2020, when production bottlenecks caused by factory closures during the pandemic resulted in a delayed release of that year’s model.

Weak sales in China were again a factor in the latest quarter, with revenue in that region falling 8 percent from last year to $16.37 billion as rival smartphone makers gained ground in one of the company’s largest markets.

Apple is widely expected to unveil new AI, or artificial intelligence, services in June during an annual conference showcasing the next version of its software for the iPhone and Mac computers.

“We believe in the transformative power and promise of AI and we believe we have advantages that will differentiate us in this new era,” Apple CEO Tim Cook assured analysts during a conference in May.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5